The family of the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, a native of Russia's North Caucasus region of Daghestan, has denied any involvement in the severe December 2016 beating of a mixed martial arts fighter, Rasul Mirzayev.
Russian media quoted Nurmagomedov's cousin Umar Nurmagomedov as saying on October 17 that none of Nurmagomedov's relatives had been involved in the beating.
The statement came after a video appeared on the Internet, in which Mirzayev is shown being beaten by several men who demand an apology from him.
The video carried a narrator's voice saying that Mirzayev was beaten by Nurmagomedov's fans and relatives after he supported another Russian MMA fighter, Artyom Lobov, who, the video authors claimed, is a friend of Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, whom Nurmagomedov's defeated in Las Vegas in October 2018 in a fight that was marred by a brawl that occurred afterward.
Mirzayev, 33, is a world sambo wresting champion who often takes part in MMA competitions.
In 2012 Mirzayev was convicted of unintentional manslaughter in the death of a young Russian man who died during a scuffle in Moscow.
Mirzayev was sentenced to two years of "freedom limitation," a suspended sentence with parole-like restrictions.
The incident raised always-simmering tensions between Russians and ethnic minorities from the Caucasus region in Moscow.